Happy New Year!

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We saw in the new year with wine and cheese and video games and smoke and firecrackers and the sound of traffic sliding by and fitful sleep.

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My resolutions this year are, somewhat cryptically:

Fitter Happier – Radiohead |These Boots Are Made For Walking – Nancy Sinatra There She Goes, My Beautiful World – Nick Cave | Dancing in the Dark – Bruce Springsteen | A Sorta Fairytale – Tori Amos Travelling Woman – Bat For Lashes | Carnival – Natalie Merchant | Rosebud – Ryan Adams Blue Jeans – Lana Del Ray Monsoons – Puscifer 

A Boring Blog Post About Goals.

Yesterday I worked my second last shift ever for my old employer. I stayed on weekend shifts after I left to help out and probably did so a little longer than I intended. Uni starts in March and I decided I had to pull the plug so I could have some time off in February.

Normally the weekend shifts can be done at home, but much to my dismay, there was an issue connecting to a server and I had to go into the office.

The office itself is lovely, but stifling on the weekends when there’s no air conditioning and the shifts are more on-call than flat-out, so I had eight hours to kill and there’s only so many gratuitous photos of Josh that I could print out and stick to his monitor as a Monday morning surprise.

Instead I stared thinking about my goals for this year and narrowed them down to about five. Then I thought about how I motivate myself. I surprised myself by realising I am not rewards-based because I reward myself for everything. Get out of bed? Reward! Go to bed at the end of the day? Reward!

Delilah and I are both very treat-oriented, but not necessarily treat-motivated. We are over-treated.

The only thing that’s ever worked for me is the “Seinfeld Productivity Secret“. Give me something to cross off or colour in and I’m all about doing that.

I had a pretty specific idea about what I wanted it to look like so I bought PDFs of a goal planner and a weekly/monthly planner from etsy, tweaked them a little bit and created a book.

I wrote down the five things I want to do and why, stuck a motivational picture in there and then listed all the things I needed to do to achieve them all.

When I got home, I stuck a monthly planner for the goals that need me to do something almost daily up on a wall and each night, I’ll colour the day in if I did what I needed to!

There’s one up for doing the C25K again and another for guitar practice. It’s already made a difference because guitar practice is something I just forget until the Sunday night before a lesson, between work and walking the dog and dinner and a million other nightly things, but now there’s a big ol’ reminder there.

Another interesting this was looking through my old photos for the motivational picture for the C25K and weight goals.

I’ve had a really bumpy few years with weight. First I was chubby, then I lost a huge amount when the side effect of one of my medications was almost complete appetite loss, then my thyroid killed itself and a side effect was extreme weight gain and then the mental side effect of that was a compulsion to eat all of the snacks because why not?

I wanted to find something realistic, and I found this picture from almost exactly two years ago:

IMG_8475 This was post-no appetite, pre-thyroid.

I laughed when I saw it because I remember this outfit well. I called it my space mechanic outfit, like Kaylee from Firefly.

I also thought I was really progressive wearing it because I’d started gaining some weight back and thought I was too big to be wearing shorts.

I am perhaps not the best judge of my own appearance.

I’m not sure how much I’ll blog about goals here because I’m typically pretty bad at keeping resolutions or remembering to track them.

We’ll see.

New Year’s Resolutions Naysayers

Random Internet People: “New Year’s resolutions are dumb!”

Me: “I think having resolutions are a good idea!”

RIP: “Yeah but why wait for the start of a new year? Why not just start today? Or tomorrow?”

Me: “That would be fine, as would having them start on the first of January!”

RIP: “No, that would be dumb.”

Me: “Do you have any?”

RIP: “Hell no!”

Me: “I have a few. I’m going to finish the C25K. What do you think about that?”

RIP: ” … nothing.”

Me: “Aren’t you angry?”

RIP: “No?”

Me: “But I’m starting on January 1, not today or tomorrow!” *makes spooky ghost fingers*

RIP: “I don’t care what you do.”

Me: “But you think I’m dumb, right?”

RIP: “I don’t know, shut up okay?”

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I like New Year’s resolutions and I make them every year. Maybe one for this year will be finding out if ‘New Year’s’ is always capitalised, because I’m really not sure about that one.

I have discussed this with my psychologist before. Sure, it’s not necessarily healthy to do things like eat 14 tubs of ice cream every day until June 26th and then think to yourself, ‘Oh well! I don’t need to worry about stopping that until January 1st!’ but for a lot of people a new year brings new circumstances and things shift and change.

For me, the new year brings the start of a four day working week, which frees me up to do stuff like plan out a whole month of running. University is also something new, so I’ll need to shift things around to fit that in.

This time of year also means a lot of people are on holidays. For me that means reestablishing contact with people I haven’t seen much of in the whirlpool of 2014. It means having time to get back into reading books for book club (another resolution), catching up with Nic and learning about riding in Sydney (another resolution).

So while Random Internet People are squawking into the void of social media about how much they hate New Year’s resolutions (the capitalisation is starting to feel less and less correct here), as far as me and mine go? At the end of the year, maybe I’ll be a fitter, more reliable book club attendee with a kickass grade point average. a lady who cycles to work! Maybe I won’t be any of those things!

The only thing for certain is naysayers will always be shouting into the void and it doesn’t make a difference to me (resolutions on the other hand …).

Edit: Also? Always question people who try and tell you that something positive you’re doing for yourself is dumb. Ask yourself why, if it has no impact on them at all, they need to try so hard to make you feel bad about your choices. The answer is always interesting and almost all the time, never about you.

Resolution #3: Thou Shall Lift!

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There’s a whole thing I have about weight and exercise goals I have, but I don’t think they’re resolutions in a typical end-of-year sense. They are bigger projects, but there is something really specific I want to get back into in 2014 and that’s weight training!

This resolution is inspired by the gorgeous Kathleen, who is going to be my long-distance weights wizard inspiration in 2014.

My preferred training method previously has been to run for half an hour and then do circuit training while listening to Tool’s 10,000 Days. Only that album works for me with weight training. Training hurts and it’s repetitive and you need something to take your mind someplace else.

Lifting produces a rush like none other, which makes it an easy thing to stick with and progress comes quite quickly. 

I’m going to research the types of programs I want to do this year, and probably work with a trainer for a while, but to start me off, I’m lucky to live really close to a gym with an excellent weights circuit and an awesome mix of men and women who are really into the training.

Resolution #2: Thou Shall Stop Hate-Reading

I am my own worst enemy when it comes to hate-reading social media.

I completely understand that my online presence might piss people off. How many times can I talk about cat drool? Do I realise that sometimes I say things that sound like, or are, the dreaded humble brag? Do I not think people will notice I take all my selfies in the mirror in the work toilets? Could I please just shut up with the tweets all the time in general?

When I discover people don’t follow me on Facebook and Twitter anymore, I get over it pretty quickly. That’s fine! I understand why it might be a bit much for some people, even friends and/or family!

However, I am terrible when it comes to not reading the social media accounts of people/corporations that really piss me off. I can’t seem to help myself. I seem to need confirmation that they’re still out there somewhere being cynical/hypocritical/thoughtless/hateful etc etc douchebags and then when it turns out they are then I feel mad!

I am tired of mad! I am all about happy!

So no more. There is a happy balance between being well-informed and burying your head in the sand and pretending things you don’t like don’t exist and I am going to try and find it.

Resolution #1: Thou Shall Attend Thy Book Club & Read The Books

My book club is quite a Serious Book Club. There are rules: you may show up at the beginning of the night if you have read the book, if you haven’t, please delay your arrival until after the discussion and then you may drink the wine and eat the cheese. There’s a rumour you can also get kicked out for non-attendance and if that’s true, I am in trouble because I have missed about the last four meetings.

The saddest part about this is that I’ve fallen out of touch with people I was seeing regularly at the start of this year and I miss those ladies. I’ve also read a much narrower scope of books as a result, so I am resolving to attend more book club meetings this year and over the Christmas break am going to read not one, but two book club books in preparation.

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The first, The Watch Tower by Elizabeth Harrower, I already own, but have not yet read because it is only newly back in print. Finding it was very exciting, it was recommended to me four or five years ago and I have been trying to find a second-hand copy ever since.

After Laura and Clare are abandoned by their mother, Felix is there to help, even to marry Laura if she will have him. Little by little the two sisters grow complicit with his obsessions, his cruelty, his need to control.
Set in the leafy northern suburbs of Sydney during the 1940s, The Watch Tower is a novel of relentless and acute psychological power.

The second, The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton, won this year’s Man Booker Prize.

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It is 1866, and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields.  On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes.  A wealthy man has vanished, a whore has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk.  Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely patterned as the night sky.

I like the idea of starting the year with books set in Australia and New Zealand, respectively, and I look forward to reading them and getting back into the book club, if they’ll have me!

New Year’s Resolutions: 2013 Edition

2012 was a bumpy year and I realised a lot of things about myself, some of them not very nice. I’m not confronted by that, I think it’s healthy for me to know and recognise flaws and positives. The biggest realisation was a simple one: I do not do well without structure and I take little time to reward myself. For the last month or so I have been thinking about what I want to achieve next year, because I think it’s time to amp up my life a bit and goals provide a perfect way for me to have structure and keep track of what I want to achieve.

Head + Heart:

+ Tune out of gossip, make my own mind up about people and quit buying into the myth that women need be jealous of other women;

+ Exercise three times a week;

+ Get down to my goal weight;

+ Come off my meds and Red Bull;

+ Change my sleep patterns;

+ Read all the long books that have been wallowing on my shelves for too long because I didn’t have the concentration span to give them the time they need.

Start with the following:

  • Joseph Anton – Salman Rushdie
  • Arguably – Christopher Hitchens
  • American Gods – Neil Gaiman
  • Infinite Jest – David Foster Wallace
  • The Executioners Song – Norman Mailer
  • The Great War for Civilisation – Robert Fisk

Fun stuff:

+ Go to New York;

+ Learn to play my uke;

+ Get a red sparkly manicure;

+ Go back to shooting with a DSLR more often;

+ Get rid of all the clothes I hate and replace them only with things I love, not hastily bought things;

+ Eat summer fruits;

+ Swim at the beach.

 Grownup stuff:

+ Sign up to GoGet and actually drive in Sydney;

+ Keep my credit card paid off;

+ Speak to the bank about a mortgage;

+ Learn to touch type;

+ Take the opportunity I’ve been given at work and run with it;

+ Take lunch to work;

+ Do a monthly budget.